Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Digital or Print? What's best when reading comics?

I'm having a bit of dilemma at the moment, although it's (thankfully) not too life threatening (though maybe it is given how much I love comics). After previously pondering what I should cull from my comic book pull list as I head into 2014 (see here ), I started to then look forward and see what new titles I could pick up and replace them, immediately finding two titles which are, somewhat, rather appealling to me. These titles are Alex + Ada, a (presumably) 12 issue series by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughan (released in November), and Dead Body Road, a six issue series brought to us by Justin Jordan and Matteo Scalera (released in December). Now, the problem I've got isn't whether I should buy either book but in what format of should I buy them. Should I pick them up in print or digitally?

My collection in its digital glory (for now??)
Now, here's a little backstory. Up until this point I deal primarily in print issues. I've got 1000 single issue comics stored in a cupboard full of boxes as well a good bookcase full of trades. Everything I normally buy is physical, in your hands comics from a bricks and mortar shop (or several, as it's been in my lifetime). In truth Digital has not been something I've acknowledged until recently when I've started picking up mini-series that are on sale (Kingdom Come, The Nightly News, Superman: Birthright) or redeeming codes found in the back of Marvel's $3.99 books (Indestructible Hulk, Uncanny X-Force, Daredevil: End of Days). However, despite these trips into cyber comics, I've never picked up items from my pull list on the day they are released until recently with the All-New X-men and Indestructible Hulk specials, which are detailing the Arms of the Octopus story.However, now I'm eyeing up this new series the question I'm asking myself is 'do I pick them up digitally?' This is an enticing prospect and here's why. Like I said previously, my comic books fill a cupboard and a bookcase and that's just a thousand single issues and if I keep buying them that'll soon not be enough storage. A print copy takes up space and eventually it'll get to the point that I have to sell them (which i'm loathe to do). If I pick them up on digital, that's just nothing in terms of space. I could hold 16 gigs worth of comics on an Ipad which is about the same size as a trade. Then there's picking them up. At present, I pick up my comics from a shop, in the town centre, which I can't reach until the Saturday when I'm not at work, three days after their release. With Digital I can pick them up on the day which they are released.

However, there is then the downsides of digital. First up is the cost. Because I'm a regular customer of my local shop with an ongoing standing order, I'm eligible for 10% discount which, when on a budget, is not a bad thing. By going digital there is a pretty good chance I'm going to spend more on comics. There is also the collectibility of print, as if I did ever sell them, a print comic is likely to be worth more than a digital copy. Also, I kind of enjoy having a real, physical 'thing' in my hands to look at. However, the big issue against digital is the fact of enjoyability. Now, I don't know about anyone else but, while I enjoy reading comics on my ipad, I find them so much more enjoyable when they are real comics in my hands. I don't know why but this is how it is and I'm hesitant to get digital comics if they impede the reason I buy comics in the first place.

So, what do I do? With Alex + Ada being released in only a couple of weeks I'm more then likely going to use it as a test case and buy it digitally. I'm really tempted to do it as I continually worry that I'm running out of space at home, but I can't help but feel that digital comics take something away from the experience of reading them.

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